I’ve seen some really interesting stuff come out of Showtime before. It’s actually kind of interesting to see what all comes out of advanced cable systems, and our friends out at CBS DVD have brought out a copy of “Penny Dreadful The Complete First Season” for us to review, and this is certainly one of the more unique propositions that’s rolled out. But thankfully, this time around, unique will not fall flat as the presentation is every bit the match of its unusual nature.
“Penny Dreadful The Complete First Season” follows some of the biggest names in horror literature, and for the most part, they have nothing to do with Stephen King. Indeed, some of the very biggest are on hand, including Victor Frankenstein, art maven Dorian Gray, and several characters found in the original “Dracula” are on hand here, and this literary horror moulange will offer up one bizarre concept. The lot of them are assembled in a bid to save one soul, a proposition that would be difficult enough even if these weren’t some of the most insanely driven figures in classic literature. But not only will they be working toward one person’s salvation, they’ll also be working to save their own souls in the midst of their temptations.
This is actually a pretty exciting blend of horror, action and suspense, with each adding their own distinct features to the mix, making it overall an extremely powerful operation. I have to admit, I was caught fairly quickly into the first episode, and that by itself is something unusual. It is perhaps the ultimate goal, but at the same time, it seldom works that way. It watches almost like the horror series equivalent of “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and frankly, that’s pretty exciting. Even if you weren’t much for the original League, you’ll likely do well with this equivalent. This one goes a lot more in depth, with a goodish dollop of character development and similar fun afoot.
There are scares here, a few good laughs, and plenty of suspense, making this some terrific gaslamp fiction for a great many reasons. While this being the first season means there will be plenty of loose ends afoot, there’s more than enough room for this to run and turn into quite the impressive piece overall. Naturally, only time will tell if it gets that room to run, but this is already shaping up quite well, and I’m rather looking forward to seeing how it shapes up.
Special features here include a featurette on the definition of a “penny dreadful,” as well as several other features of the series. There are also the first two episodes of both “Ray Donovan” and “The Affair,” though “The Affair”‘s episodes are available via e-Bridge technology. You’ll also have your choice of English or Spanish dialogue tracks, closed captions, English subtitles, as well as a pastiche of other series available from Showtime.
“Penny Dreadful The Complete First Season” is offering up a pretty exciting prospect in its own right, and should prove to get better the farther in it goes and the more it explains. It’s a fine start, and though we won’t know how it all turns out for some time, it can’t be subtracted; a fine start this is and shall remain.